Last Thursday (26th July) evening in the ‘large’ venue of the Pavilion Garden’s Octagon in Buxton, there was an additional full council meeting.
The main bulk of the business was around considering issues on the local plan, but we started with consideration of the new standard’s regime – further details available by clicking here – which will bring the current standards regime up to date and in line with the legislation, which has amongst other things removed the sanctions in place via the standards board for England (and the standards board itself) and introduced a criminal penalty around how interests are reported / acted upon. The standards changes were accepted by all members present, and we moved onto the local plan issues.
The local plan is one of those issues, that whatever is decided, there will undoubtedly be someone unhappy with it, and particularly with the element that was up for discussion on Thursday around what should be the number of houses built within the High Peak between now and 2028.
You can view the full report and related maps etc by clicking here
The report up for discussion contained four recommendations, three of which were expected to be relatively straight forward to discuss with the fourth having potential to be quite complicated. The first recommendation (2.1) was around agreeing for consultation all the housing target figure options within the report and aside from queries around Chapel figures was agreed by all present.
The second (2.2) and most discussed recommendation was around what figure would be advised as the council’s preferred annual figure for house building with three options of 270, 300 or 330 being put forward. Our recommendation to council was for the middle figure of 300 for a whole host of reasons that are expended on in further depth in the report but as headlines include things like ensuring the delivery of new affordable homes, meeting need evidenced by household projections and protecting our high quality environment.
Alas whilst our arguments in my view were the right one in a sense of taking a balanced approach, we lost the vote and the consultation will go out with a preferred figure of 270 per year.
Next up was the last recommendation in the report (2.4) which was around agreeing a shortened timetable on bringing the local plan into existence with a key step been to have a interim policy statement in place by next April – this was agreed by all present.
Finally we went back to the third recommendation (2.3) in the report which was to agree for public consultation a ‘long list’ of potential housing sites across the borough, with the sites on the list having been considered at a number of member workshop’s in the weeks leading up to the full council meeting.
Initially this had the potential to have been an area where there would have been substantial debate, however in the end aside from a few questions over whether particular sites were or weren’t on the list for consultation, it was agreed to go out for consultation with only one abstention.
In terms of what this means for us locally on Gamesley, there are 3 sites identified as ‘possible’ housing sites and you can view these on a map by clicking here, and if you have views you can either get in touch and let me know by clicking here or take part in the consultation which will take place during September and October.